Finding my first Glorieta Mountain meteorite.
GLORIETA MOUNTAIN EXPEDITION
A short time after I found my first few Gold Basin meteorite I saw a picture of a Glorieta Mountain pallasite slice in "Meteorite" magazine. I said to myself, "Wow! I gotta have one of those." Compared to the drab Gold Basin meteorites this was just stunning. So, I went to the computer and typed "Glorieta Meteorites For Sale" and looked around for a piece to purchase. I found that the least expensive piece I could get from one source . . . well the only source I could find was $40.00 to $60.00 per gram! There went that idea. I had a pretty good job but just could not see myself shelling out that kind of cash for the second meteorite in my brand-new collection.
It just so happens that the same guy who told me about hunting for meteorites (which in my mind meant going out and picking up fallen stars) had also hunted Glorieta quite extensively but, at this point, had retired from hunting meteorites altogether.
We talked about the strewn field at great length. His largest piece of Glorieta was around 250 grams, and he had many pounds of smaller pieces. I told him that my intention was to go to Glorieta and find a piece big enough to slice. He gave a chuckle and said, "Yeah, you and every other hunter that has ever been up there."
He also told me that if you are looking for big stuff you had better be prepared to get skunked. That was very good advice, as I was on the road to Glorieta Mountain for the third time and still had not found a single Glorieta meteorite. After the second weekend trip I was quite discouraged and thought what I'd been told might be right — I would probably never find a Glorieta big enough to slice. But I told my wife that I just had to go back. I could not give up that easily and walk away skunked. She just smiled and gave me her blessing for another trip.
It is a long drive from Kingman to Sante Fe and I had a lot of time to try and talk myself into hunting for the smaller meteorites. If I did that at least I might not be skunked. Before I arrived at the strewn field I had already decided to stick it out and keep looking for what I had set out to find — a Glorieta Mountain pallasite big enough to slice.
I started out early that morning with great enthusiasm, but after a few hours of vicious terrain my enthusiasm was reduced to resolve. I remember thinking that my swing was getting shorter and shorter as the day progressed. I could see the small end of the strewn field but had resisted the temptation, several times, to head over there and find something small. It was about 4 pm, and ten hours into my day, when I was shocked by a signal that was huge. It was so big that it seemed to be everywhere. I could not get the coil within two feet of that spot without it screaming. I am thinking to myself, "Just great! I about to dig up a frying pan in the middle of nowhere."
After a few inches of digging my hopes started to rise, as most junk that you find is close to the surface. Then, at about six inches, I was into the harder ground. My hopes were through-the-roof, and I pulled my magnet off of my digging tool. I put it down in the hole and I could feel the pull straight down toward the bottom of the hole. If it was a meteorite I didn't want to bang it up with my digging tool, so I started digging very carefully with a big Gerber knife.
When I hit the object I started to uncover it and it looked like a meteorite — maybe about four or five hundred grams. I thought, "This is awesome! I could cut that up and get a couple of slices out of it."
I reached down into the hole, which was about eight inches deep now, and grabbed the meteorite and tried to pull it out. It would not even budge. Wow! All I was looking at was a knob on the end of this thing. I started digging around it with a new sense of urgency. I thought, "There is no way this is a meteorite. It's huge, and it has to be a big old piece of junk."
So, as quick as I could, I ripped it out of the ground as looked at it. The first thing that came to mind was that it was a foot-long piece of railroad track — but who would carry a piece of railroad track way the heck out here and bury it? It was covered it moist dirt so I pulled out a brush from my pouch and started brushing the dirt off. I saw something sparkle.
"What the heck is that?"
I found myself staring at a huge olivine crystal, and I finally realized what I had just dug out of the ground. I laid it down carefully on the pile of dirt from the hole, and tried to talk myself out of believing that it was a Glorieta Mountain pallasite.
"That is impossible. It can't be!"
I picked it up and brushed it off as fast as I could, and everywhere I cleaned off the dirt I saw more olivine crystals sparkling. The thing was just covered with olivine.
The slice you see on the lower left of my home page is my own slice from this amazing meteorite — my very first Glorieta. People told me this was a once-in-a-lifetime meteorite and I was the luckiest person they'd ever met. Well, as you can see from the upper left picture on my home page they were wrong.
That upper left picture is a whole other story.